Large urban residences both register and articulate financial and aspirational value. Catering as much to their inhabitants’ needs as to their whims, they are, at once, spaces of private indulgence as also objects of a more socially motivated aesthetic expression. Therefore, the luxurious and the exotic are sought in various ways from their design. In big cities, global market systems drive construction, fabrication and procurement logistics, and so, the extrinsic, or exotic, in terms of materiality and the machined, in terms of texture and precision, are more sought after and given greater value. Systems of architectural production also appear to have cleaved apart the relationships between making and material while form seems to rely heavily on geometries that ease the application of industrially mass produced and pre-engineered surface renders. Ironically, the search for the unusual in contemporary urban architecture seems akin to a walk in a “walled garden” of ubiquitous aesthetics.
Outré House attempts a rediscovery of the singular and distinctive, specifically, in the working of humble materials; on site and by hand. It attempts to do so by recentring the bond between making and material. From bespoke concrete formwork and poured flooring to curved joinery and rhythmically notched masonry, the design releases its handmade construction from the constraints of the straight line. It, thus, allows crafted details to overlay each other rather than be restricted, merely, to points and lines where materials meet.
The city grid and its volumetric controls, most simplistically, resolves into rectilinearity. This boxform resolution of the program unavoidably results in spatial compartmentalisation, on top of which real estate imperatives encourage apartment stacks of cookiecutter floor plates. The curvilinearity of Outré House creates more fluid spatial formations and helps create smoothly transitioning spaces.
Outré House also rekindles the relationship between the crafted and the natural. The weave between the handmade and the natural further positions this design away from the industrial. The interweaving of precisely turned wooden louvres and vertically installed planters allows the vegetal to enmesh with the structural, gathering into internal and rooftop gardens. This coupling of craft and foliage also underlines the bespoke floral chandelier designed by
Gold Winner – Archframe Design Awards 2023
Design Firm – Anagram Architects
Project Title – Outré House
Project Category – Private Residential
Status – Built
Architect – Vaibhav Dimri
Design Team – VAIBHAV DIMRI, MADHAV RAMAN, AYUSH PRAKASH
Profile – Professional Architect
Country – India